Student Bloggers

Monday, October 24, 2016

Computer Club Startup

Computer Club has begun and what a turnout! The first meeting, there were more students than chairs or computers. As a result, Mrs. Short divided the students into two groups that will meet on alternating Mondays. That way, everybody will have a chair and a computer to work at!

For the initial meeting, students were willing to buddy up and tackle the first activity - Lightbot, found on the Hour of Code website. Lightbot is a "game" that is an introduction to the thought processes necessary for programming.

Students also decided the format for the club. Mrs. Short gave them the option of an on-going project or a different activity each week. Students chose the latter, so each week they will be introduced to a different app or computer science activity that they can follow up at home. In coming weeks, they will be trying out "Build with Chrome" and puzzles from

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The students in grades 1-3 have been working on their mouse-ing skills. Holding the mouse properly and learning the meaning of the different mouse cursor symbols have been stressed. For fun, they created some masterpieces in PowerPoint for your viewing enjoyment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Back at It!

School has been back in session for a month. Time flies. However, in the computer lab that only translates into five class meetings. Mrs. Short is always amazed at how much the students accomplish meeting only once per week. So, what have they done with that time?

The youngest students have been reviewing basic terminology, identification of computer station components, and working the mouse. All know that if you don't control the mouse, it controls you. So, they have been concentrating on holding the mouse properly, adding double clicking to their repertoire of mouse maneuvers, and working hard to sit up straight while mousing. Correct mouse handling is also important to developing the proper posture for keyboarding. Students have reviewed the meanings of the different mouse cursors they may encounter and added the crosshair cursor for drawing. Which leads us to our first project.

Using PowerPoint as our canvas, students are getting a lot of mouse practice drawing shapes (if they didn't before, they now know what diagonal means), using the related drawing tools, and using the shapes to create pictures. It's amazing. The younger students can be very creative as they have no preconceived ideas and tend to think outside the box. For example, the lightning bolt shape makes a great pony tail. Older students have more mouse dexterity and add more fine details.

In the intermediate and upper grades keyboarding boot camp is under way. Emphasis on technique - posture, keyboard placement, use of home row - is forefront. Sitting up straight and sitting still can be a challenge! Direct instruction will continue through first semester. As with any other muscle memory activity, keyboarding success is built on practice and consistency.

Credit for Image

It's not all pounding the keys, however, grades four through six are also participating in the mouse, shape drawing challenge. Grades seven and eight are applying their keyboarding skills to their first coding adventure. They are learning some new keystrokes and symbols to write HTML, the language used to create Web pages. This activity will require them to use a text editor to create an HTML document while discovering the havoc syntax errors can create. Debugging will become an important new word in their vocabulary.

Once they have learned some basic HTML coding a model Web page with Mrs. Short, they will write the code for a Web page that reflects their individual interests. The students' challenge will be to use online resources such as W3Schools to extend what they have learned working on the model to meet the requirements of their Web page designs. Extra, extra credit: multiple pages constituting a Web site.

Mrs. Short is "killing two birds with one stone" with this activity. The students are learning something "cool" while building their keyboarding skills. Shhh! don't tell them.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back-to-School Resources

Back-to-school time is upon us. The transition from summer vacation to school isn't just for students but also for parents. Lunches to pack, paperwork to read and sign, school shoes to buy, and checking uniforms against summer growth spurts are just a few of the back-to-school chores that will be occupying time and energy.

How about some tips and tricks for kicking off a high energy and happy new school year? There may be something helpful at the Edutopia site Parents' Resources page.

See you soon!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Learning with Technology

“Learning with technology, whether with a math app, a video how-to, or a wiki, opens up a new world of discovery for kids. And as they access information in novel ways, kids are preparing for life in a new interconnected, global world. Learn how to spot the good stuff, find the right products for your kids' needs, and foster a love of learning. Continue reading at Common Sense Media.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

What is Pokemon Go?

"Parents need to know that Pok√©mon GO is an insanely popular augmented reality game (based on the huge franchise of video games, card games, and other media) that requires an internet connection with GPS tracking and movement in the real world. Playing the game, which appeals to a wide range of ages, involves various safety and security issues." Read more at Common Sense Media ...

Common Sense Media for Teachers Ideas for dealing with the craze in the classroom.